Ukrainian soldiers are laying siege to Donetsk, where pro-Russian rebels have taken control.
© AFP/Scanpix

After heavy fighting, much of the town remains in ruins.

But the soldiers are also preparing for a larger battle. They believe Russia is preparing to invade.

NATO is warning that Russia could use the pretext of a humanitarian mission to send in the 20,000 combat-ready troops now positioned on Ukraine's border.

Ukrainian Defence Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko says the military will be ready to respond: "If there is direct aggression, then it is obvious that there will be an adequate answer from all branches of Ukrainian armed forces."

The battle between Ukraine government troops and separatist rebels has been raging since April.

Economic sanctions from the West, and threats of further action against Russia, have had little affect.

And Wednesday Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered sanctions of his own.

The misery continues in Donetsk, with some accusing their government of heavy-handedness, using warplanes to bomb the rebels into submission.

"Genocide, in my opinion it's genocide. To kill people for nothing," says Donetsk resident Olga.

As workers try to put the broken pieces back together, Ukraine's military prepares for a bigger battle they believe is still to come.

Leave a comment
or for anonymous commenting click here
By posting, you agree to terms
Read comments Read comments

Poland thanks Lithuania for naming Vilnius street after Kaczynski

Poland on Friday thanked Lithuania for naming a street in its capital Vilnius after late Polish...

Georgia to continue to seek integration with West after election - formin in Vilnius

Tbilisi will continue to seek integration into the West regardless of who wins next Sunday's...

Lithuanian-Polish interparlt assembly might take place this year, MP says

The Lithuanian-Polish interparliamentary assembly might gather as early as this year, Arvydas...

Polish ForMin urges Lithuania to scrap election threshold for ethnic minorities - Interview (1)

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has called on Lithuania to amend its legislation so that...

Russian-language TV channel Current Time to be launched in Lithuania

The Vilnius TV Tower is starting on Friday to re transmit Current Time , a US-funded Russian-language...